Uncertainty Over Who Can Sit On Health Committee

Council chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Council chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

The composition of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee has been left up in the air after councillors failed to decide who could attend.

The government recommends that the panel, which scrutinises health services on the islands, should not include members of any committee that actually provides a health or social care service. That includes Community Services, the Children’s Trust Board and the Young People’s Committee.

It was felt that excluding all members of those committees would be impractical, given the number of Councillors available in Scilly, but a recommendation was made that the chairs and vice chairs shouldn’t be members.

Cllr Richard McCarthy, who as chair of Community Services would be one of those members affected, said he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just leave the room when his committee was being discussed.

But Cllr Dudley Mumford said the conflict would come if HOSC, for example, had to scrutinise Park House. And Strategic Development Officer, Aisling Hick, said that would extend to setting the agendas.

She said there could be a situation in which a member could potentially stop an item like Park House from ever getting on the agenda in the first place.

But Cllr Gordon Bilsborough took a different view. He said it would be better to have the chair of each service committee there “to grill him.”

But when members voted on the proposal to exclude chairs and vice chairs, the motion was defeated and no alternative was tabled.

Administration officer Sue Pritchard said she was in the process of getting further advice on the matter from the Department of Local Government, and she would bring that to the next Full Council meeting.